More and more businesses are catching on to the power of SMS as a marketing channel. SMS can be used to send marketing communications like promotional or transactional messages, and some are taking it a step further by using SMS to build customer nurturing campaigns and to re-engage customers.
In terms of cost and return, SMS blows some other channels out of the water. It is inexpensive and yields impressive ROI, so it’s no wonder it is gaining momentum.
In this blog, we will look at the benefits of adopting SMS as a communication tool, and provide nine SMS use cases to spark inspiration.
The benefits of SMS marketing
There are multiple benefits of using SMS as a marketing channel. But don’t just take our word for it, let the numbers do the talking.
High open rates = higher engagement
Text messages have a 98% open rate, compared to about 20% for emails. Higher open rates mean higher click-through and conversion rates, and ultimately better ROI.
What’s more, 86% of small business owners who utilize text messaging say texting offers higher engagement than email communication.
Most people interact with SMS multiple times a day
78% of consumers say that checking, sending, and answering text messages is the activity they do the most on their smartphones throughout the day. This means they are less likely to miss SMS marketing communciations (unlike with emails, which can easily get buried in the inbox or be marked as spam).
Consumers are becoming more comfortable communicating with businesses via SMS
Over 60% of consumers have opted-in to receive texts from at least one business. In fact, consumers are 134% more likely to respond to a text than an email, and 86% of businesses using SMS find it generates higher engagement than email.
SMS is inexpensive compared to other marketing channels for advertising
The average cost of an SMS per send $0.07. Compared to the $1.39 cost-per-click for Google Search and the $3.87 for LinkedIn, SMS marketing is proven to be a cheaper form of advertising.
9 SMS marketing tips to level up your strategy
When SMS is sent to the right audience at the right time, it is a powerful tool. So, how can you make the most out of SMS marketing, and what are some use case examples? Below are nine to get your teeth stuck into.
1. Send transactional messages
The most common way businesses use SMS is to send transactional messages that provide valuable information about their products, services, or processes.
Transactional messages include things like:
“Your order has been processed”
“Your item has been shipped”
“Your payment has been received”
“Your booking has been confirmed”
The purpose of these messages is to relay important information as quickly and as conveniently as possible.
2. Send promotional offers
Another common way businesses use SMS is to send promotional content. Businesses can send bulk messages to their opted-in SMS subscribers to inform them about upcoming sales or current discounts. This is particularly useful in the lead-up to specific sales periods like Black Friday, or when sale periods are ending because it creates a sense of urgency.
Below, see how different businesses like streaming service Binge, homeware retailer Adairs, and wellness brand JSHealth use SMS to alert consumers about offers.
It’s important to note in the above examples that there is a clear opportunity for recipients to opt out of marketing messages. This is crucial, because if a recipient does not want to receive messages from a business and cannot easily put a stop to them, they may become frustrated, which could cause all sorts of damage to your brand’s reputation.
Take it one step further by personalizing SMS campaigns (and any communication channel, for that matter) to forge stronger connections with your customers. It’s better to greet a customer using their name because the message will seem a little less “sales-y” and more thoughtful.
Below is what a personalized message from an SPF brand might look like:
“Hey [first name], we hope you’re enjoying the warm weather! We have 15% off our new suncare range so that you can stay sun-safe this summer. Stock up today [link].”
This message uses the customer’s first name and seasonal references to add a personal touch, which is important because most of us use text informally to chat to friends and family, so receiving a business-like message can be jarring.
3. Gather feedback and reviews
You can also use SMS to ask customers to share their feedback on a recent purchase. Feedback is important because it helps you to address issues and make positive changes to improve customer satisfaction and brand reputation. And because consumers prefer using SMS for quick communications, it’s worthwhile automating a feedback journey, which is easy in Ortto (we’ll go into this more later).
You can use Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys to gauge customer sentiment. A NPS is a simple question: “On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend our [product/service] to a friend or colleague?” The scoring is split across three segments: Promoters (scoring 9-10), Passives (7-8), and Detractors (0-6).
Ortto users can tag customers as Promoters, Passives, or Detractors in their CDP based on their score, and send them on relevant customer journeys that engage and follow-up with them accordingly.
For instance, you may celebrate your Promoters to maintain brand advocacy, or you may send Detractors on a re-engagement journey where you ask them for more detailed feedback so you can help solve their issues and prevent them from churning.
Below is an example of how a fitness studio uses the NPS survey to gather feedback and reviews via SMS.
In this example, the recipient is noted as a satisfied customer and is prompted to leave a review on a third-party site (in this case, Google).
This is how to recreate this journey in Ortto:
When a customer takes a particular action (in this case, attends their first class at the studio), send them a SMS that says: “Thanks for visiting [studio name]. Based on the visit, how likely would you be to recommend us? Reply 0-10 (best).”
If the customer responds with a number between 0 and 10, send them another message that says, “Thanks! If you don’t mind letting us know, why did you choose that score? Reply with your comments or N to skip.” Depending on their score, tag them as a Promoter, Passive, or Detractor.
If the customer is a Promoter, ask them to leave a review: “Got it! When you have a few minutes, it would be amazing if you could share your review. Here’s a link [link].
If the customer is tagged as a Passive or Detractor, it could alert the sales/support team who could follow up with them to address any concerns they have.
Not all businesses will use the NPS. Below is an example of how IKEA gathers customer feedback.
In this scenario, the customer has received a transactional message from IKEA that says their order has been dispatched. They then receive a text that their order has been delivered, which is shortly followed by a text that says: “Thanks for shopping at IKEA! We’d love to hear your feedback on our services via this link.”
Here, the customer is being prompted for feedback while the delivery experience is fresh in their mind, so are more likely to provide honest feedback. A message like this also shows the customer that IKEA truly cares about the service that they provide.
Other brands incentivize their customers to leave reviews. Below is an example from homewear brand Adairs, who offer customers the chance to win a giftcard valued at $1,000 if they complete the survey.
4. Send reminders and confirmations
Another common example of how businesses use SMS is to send customers reminders and confirmations, such as:
Scheduled payment reminders
Outstanding payment reminders
67% of people would rather text a business about appointments than scheduling via email or phone, possibly due to the ease of using SMS. So it makes sense for businesses to make things as convenient as possible for their customers as a way to boost customer satisfaction.
Also, considering that SMS has a high open rate, you can be confident that you are getting the message across to customers regarding payment and/or bookings so you’re less likely to miss out on crucial business.
Here’s what reminder/confirmation SMS may look like from a beauty salon:
Hi, [first name]! Your appointment at [salon name] is on [date] at [time]. Text Y to confirm or N to cancel. 24hr cancellation fee. To rebook call [salon phone number]. Thanks!
Hi [first name], you are booked in @ [salon name], [date, time]. Please reply YES to confirm your appointment, or call [phone number] to reschedule. We look forward to seeing you!
Here’s what a payment reminder SMS might look like from a SaaS brand:
Hi, [first name]. Unfortunately your payment could not be processed. Please contact our team on [phone number] and they will be able to assist you.
5. Nurture VIP customers
Another way to use SMS is to send messages that engage high-value customers to maintain brand advocacy. Below is an example from grocery delivery service MILKRUN.
The purpose of the message above is simply to thank the customer for their continued support, offer them a discount code to use on their next purchase, and let them know that new features are coming soon. This goes a long way in building customer loyalty and satisfaction because customers like to feel special.
6. Re-engage customers
Another way to use SMS is to re-engage disengaged customers. A customer’s engagement can drop for a number of reasons: maybe their situation has changed and they no longer have a need for your product/service; perhaps they have met their need elsewhere, or perhaps they are dissatisfied with your product or service.
Rather than disregard these customers, remember that it’s harder (and more expensive) to acquire new customers than it is to retain existing ones.
First, determine what you define as a disengaged customer. Is it reduced engagement with emails? Is it that they haven’t logged into their account in over 30 days? Is it that they haven’t made a purchase in over three months?
A SaaS company may define low engagement as when a customer hasn’t logged into their account in three weeks. In this scenario, the brand may send the disengaged customer an SMS with the hopes of re-engaging them – perhaps by incentivizing them with a promotional offer, or simply asking if there’s any way they can help them.
Below are two examples:
Hi, [first name]! We miss you and want to see you working with us again. Here’s 20% off your next project. Head to [link] to set it up.
Hi [first name], long time no see! We haven’t heard from you in a while so wanted to ask if there’s anything we can help you with? Our customer service team is available 24 hours a day for your convenience.
7. Encourage app downloads
You can also use SMS to complement lead nurture initiatives. Lead nurturing is the process of engaging and educating your target audience through purposeful and meaningful interactions at different stages in the customer journey.
Below is an example of how Virgin Australia engages customers by letting them know what they can expect from their upcoming flight.
Here, Virgin Australia is attempting to create some excitement around flying, and encouraging the customer to download their app.
8. Inform them of upcoming events
Use SMS to let customers know about upcoming events, both in-person and online.
For example, a fitness SaaS might be hosting a live workout and Q&A with a head trainer, so could let customers know via SMS. Or, a B2B company could let customers know that it is hosting a webinar and invite them to attend.
9. Welcome/onboard customers
B2B and SaaS companies can also leverage SMS marketing to reinforce customer centricity throughout the customer lifecyle. A common example is welcome/onboarding campaigns to engage new customers and help them realize the value of your product and/or service.
Ortto users can easily create automated welcome journeys. For example, if a new customer signs up to your product and/or service, it triggers an SMS welcome message that celebrates them coming onboard.
Examples of a welcome/onboarding SMS message are:
Welcome [first name], it’s great to have you onboard. If you’re interested in being the first to know about any feature updates or promotions, please reply to this message with YES. To opt out of these messages, reply STOP.
Welcome to [company name], [first name]! Let’s get you up and running as quickly as possible. Finish setting up your account here [link]. To opt in for SMS reminders, updates, and promotions, reply with a Y. You can text STOP at any time to unsubscribe.
Hey, [first name]. The team at [company name] are here to help you get the best out of our product! We recommend reading this handy setup guide here [link]. Is there anything else you need to get started?
Hey [first name], congratulations on reaching [stage one of onboarding journey]. We hope you’re loving it as much as we do! Click here to complete [stage two of onboarding journey]: [link].
These messages are personal and engaging, and help to move new customers through the onboarding journey. Marketing automation is easy with Ortto – find out more here.
SMS marketing is evolving year on year, and some brands are using it just as much as – if not more than – email. There are lots of different ways to use SMS in Ortto. To explore our platform, sign up for free today.
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